Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Liberating 990 Data | Stanford Social Innovation Review

Liberating 990 Data | Stanford Social Innovation Review: The IRS does make nonprofits’ Form 990 returns available, but only on DVDs for a high fee. A single year’s worth of 990s costs over $2,500, arguably to recoup the costs of pressing and mailing all these dics. But there is no reason to charge for the Form 990 data at all. Just as most people have gotten accustomed to sharing large files via a service like Drop Box, it would be simple for the IRS to publish the returns online for anyone to download in bulk for free. This week two groups committed to government transparency, Public Resource and the Internet Archive, used their own resources to post 12 years of returns online, demonstrating that it can be done.

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